Pros and Cons of Hybrid Events
Hybrid events are quickly gaining popularity in the events industry, especially since the COVID-19 outbreak. As of now, events are still either postponed or mostly held virtually, but the events industry is adapting to make sure that events are still safe to attend when they are up and running again. This is why hybrid events are becoming a popular option, including here at JTB Meetings & Events by JTB Communication Design (JCD), and we think they’ll continue to be preferred even when COVID-19 is a thing of the past. Here are the pros and cons of hybrid events.
Pros of hybrid events
More accommodatingSome people prefer a face-to-face event whereas others would rather attend online because it is inconvenient for them to get to the event. With hybrid events, you provide both options meaning you attract more people from a wider spectrum, including different time zones. A survey conducted earlier this year showed only 67% of 35-44 year-olds preferred in person events to attending online, so offering both options is the best way to accommodate everyone.
Safer for guestsWith hybrid events, you can still include all the aspects of your original event plan without worrying about overcrowding. For example, trade shows and conferences can still be held with fewer physical attendees and more people attending online, reducing overcrowding. This also makes it easier to implement safety measures such as 50% capacity at venues and 2 meter social distancing. Knowing that your event is safe to attend is an important aspect for guests after COVID-19, so use these safety measures as a way of promoting your event.
More uniqueIf you are worried that your hybrid event won’t be interesting enough to attract attendees, there are plenty of ways to make a hybrid event unique and eye-catching. At JCD, we like to use new technology to add something special to our events. For example, our silent sessions event allowed us to hold multiple seminars at the same time. Attendees wore a headset through which they heard what the speaker in front of them was saying while not hearing other presentation held at a nearby space or even on the same stage. They could switch between different presentations at any moment, and this technology can be incorporated into live streaming hybrid events. By making it possible to switch between multiple presentations both online and offline, all participants can have the same experience while still taking part in the event as a whole. This is ideal for venues with limited space and also helps to keep guests safe, as they don’t have to move around so much, and come into contact with many people while still experiencing the whole event.
Opportunities for communicationWith in-person and virtual attendance, it is easy to gather data for marketing purposes. At JCD, we work to collect as much attendee data as possible, such as when participants entered the event and when they were more active, so you know what grabs your guests' attention. We also gather feedback so that we can keep improving your future events. Through distributing lecture materials and understanding guests’ wants and needs, we are able to improve your marketing potential. Some demographics, such as millennials, actually prefer virtual communication so a hybrid event is the best way to reach people across their preferred mediums.
Cons of hybrid events
Online issuesThe biggest problem that can come up when attending a hybrid event virtually is that the connection might not be the best. This results in virtual attendees not getting the full experience, which is one of the main issues you would want to avoid when holding a hybrid event. There’s is nothing more frustrating when attending a hybrid event online and having a laggy connection. This is why we check all our equipment rigorously. You want your message to come across as smooth as possible, as if they were attending in person.
At JCD, we work to provide high end equipment so that the online side of your hybrid event can function with the best picture and sound quality as well as help you in every aspect of the planning and execution. Depending on whether you want to prioritize image quality or two-way communication, we can select the best tools for your event. For presentations, we recommend one-way streaming to increase image quality whereas more interactive events require two-way communication so we select mediums which allow you to communicate with your audience effectively.
Extra set-upIf you are setting up a hybrid event by yourself, you’re likely to stumble over various challenges. Aside from the planning, time, and energy that organizing either an online or live event take, coordinating the hybridization adds a whole new dimension. You will need to consider both forms of customer experience, and decide whether you want them to have a 100% similar experience, or prioritize one over the other. Also, if it is a paid event you will need to decide if both types of attendees pay the same fee or not, depending on this balance. Add to this the technical demands of making your hybrid event run smoothly, the organization can be complex and challenging.
Hybrid events really are the best of both worlds. They include all the benefits of an online event while still allowing you to make contact with your guests and give them the full event experience. As hybrid events start to become the norm in the events industry, we are working to make them as interactive and informative as possible using only the best technology. If you think a hybrid event could be the right choice for you, get in touch with JCD!